Your IT team is the backbone of your organization — keeping employees productive and information available. But IT roles are also some of the hardest jobs to fill.
From daily user support to complex systems integration, IT drives your business forward. And because technology changes constantly, you need well-equipped IT staff to meet the growing demands of a mobile-first consumer base and outpace the competition.
But how do you know which IT roles you need to stay competitive?
In this blog, we’ll cover seven important IT job roles and the recommended skills, credentials and experience you should look for when vetting candidates.
Top IT Roles You Need to Hire
Being an expert in everything is impossible. IT is an expansive industry with countless niches and specialties. You don’t just need IT support — you need a well-rounded team of IT professionals who can strategically implement technology to carry out your vision.
From help desk management, maintenance and security to development and data mining, modern businesses require sophisticated, targeted IT roles to scale and grow.
In 2017, 75 percent of CIOs planned to increase investments in information technology, and that figure is expected to grow in 2018.
Here are the seven critical IT roles to focus your hiring efforts on this year:
1. Hardware Technician
Hardware technicians repair and manage servers and computers. They’re responsible for a wide range of computer and network maintenance including installation, upgrades, troubleshooting, security and support to maintain high-quality networks and computer systems.
Although hardware technicians handle basic tasks like systems updates, don’t overlook their importance. Many debilitating attacks like Spectre and Meltdown originated from outdated patches.
A hardware technician may also be known as a hardware engineer or IT specialist. A small organization might only need to employ a single hardware technician, whereas a large business with hundreds of devices might need several on their team.
Tips for Hiring a Hardware Technician
Hardware technicians should possess the following skills:
- Computer troubleshooting skills
- Ability to set up hardware and install software
- Data collection and reporting
- Hardware maintenance and repair best practices
Recommended Experience: 3+ years
Salary Range: $33,000-$58,000
Suggested Credentials: Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician, CompTIA A+ Certification and CompTIA Server+ Certification
2. Help Desk Analyst and Help Desk Support
Help desk analysts are the most visible IT roles in a company. They’re the frontline of IT support — answering, troubleshooting and resolving technical issues to keep employees productive and customers happy.
Help desk analysts are the gatekeepers who identify and escalate any immediate problems or security threats. Depending on your needs, they may also troubleshoot more complex systems and applications.
Help desk analysts may also be known as technical support specialists, support engineers or help desk technicians. Depending on the size of your company, help desk analysts can work alone or as part of a team. They typically report to an IT manager.
Tips for Hiring a Help Desk Analyst
When hiring a help desk analyst, look for a candidate that possesses these skills:
- Wide range of technical knowledge across hardware, software and networks
- Problem solving abilities
- Patience and active listening skills
- Conflict resolution
Recommended Experience: 1-5 years
Salary Range: $44,000-$48,000
Suggested Credentials: Microsoft technical training courses, CompTIA A+ Certification
3. Network Administrator/Engineer
While they both focus on networks, network administrators and engineers have slightly different roles. Network engineers focus on designing and developing networks, while administrators maintain them.
Network administrators and engineers have a clear understanding of your organization’s IT structure and network needs. They not only maintain and monitor networks, but also design them to support future growth. Typical responsibilities include designing and implementing physical and wireless networks, ensuring performance and integrating new technologies.
Network professionals may also be called network managers or network architects. Network engineers and administrators typically report to a CIO or CTO.
Tips for Hiring a Network Engineer/Administrator
Look for a candidate with the following skills:
- Hands-on experience in IT systems and networking
- Network security best practices
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
Recommended Experience: 2-5+ years
Salary Range: $55,000-$70,000
Suggested Credentials: There are many networking training courses and certifications available for network engineers and admins. When vetting potential candidates, look for courses on their résumé that coincide with your preferred IT vendors and needs:
- Cisco CCNA Certification
- Cisco CCNP Certification
- Red Hat
- CompTIA A+ Certification
- CompTIA Network+ Certification
- CompTIA Security+ Certification
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
- VMware Certified Professional on Network Virtualization (VCP-NV)
4. Business Analyst
Business analysts are the link between business people and IT teams in an organization. They leverage data, processes and information to solve business problems and ensure IT projects run smoothly.
While the specific deliverables vary depending on your organization’s needs, business analysts are responsible for reviewing processes and procedures, identifying and documenting improvements and sharing them effectively across an organization.
For example, they may help implement new IT solutions or create an IT framework to scale your business. They’ll also analyze your current IT and business environment to identify new opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Business analysts work closely with the IT department and key business stakeholders, but they often report to a CIO or CTO.
Tips for Hiring a Business Analyst
When vetting candidates for business analyst job roles, look for a business analyst with the following skills:
- Modern analysis techniques and business process models
- Advanced documentation and writing skills
- Ability to communicate with and present to stakeholders
Recommended Experience: 2-5 years
Salary Range: $55,000-$90,000
Suggested Credentials: Certified Business Analysis
See how to become a business analyst.
5. IT Project Manager
Project managers execute IT projects that provide value to your organization.
They bridge the gap between vision and execution, breaking down high-level strategies into actionable steps. IT project managers coordinate across departments to ensure projects align with business goals. They oversee every aspect from budget and scope to task management.
In addition to project management skills and certifications, IT project managers need an understanding of technical platforms and methodologies relevant to your organization.
IT project managers work closely with development teams and business managers to complete project requirements from start to finish. They usually work under a manager or director.
Tips for Hiring an IT Project Manager
An IT project manager position is far from an entry-level IT role. Advanced skills to hire for include:
- Familiarity with a variety of project management frameworks, including the agile methodology
- Risk, cost and resource management experience
- Advanced written and verbal communication skills
- Strong multi-tasking ability
- Ability to work under pressure
Recommended Experience: 5+ years
Salary Range: $75,000-$100,000
Suggested Credentials: Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP), CompTIA Project +
6. Systems Engineering Manager
IT systems are no longer self-contained. They’re robust, complex to manage and increasingly reliant on third-party vendors, applications and cloud services providers. That’s where a great systems engineering manager provides value.
Systems engineering managers oversee IT systems and infrastructure. They monitor performance, make recommendations and work with IT teams and project managers to achieve department goals. They also manage development systems designs and architecture.
Similar titles include systems analyst, technical designer and solutions specialist. Systems engineering managers job roles often include leading a team of engineers and other technical specialists. They coordinate with team members in project management, security, help desk support and asset management to solve problems and design systems that support the entire infrastructure.
Tips for Hiring a Systems Engineering Manager
Systems engineering manager should have proven experience leading teams and completing successful projects. Look for the following skills when vetting candidates for your team:
- Modern systems engineering methodologies and best practices
- Experience developing and implementing technical solutions and strategies
- Conflict resolution, analytical and decision-making skills
Recommended Experience: 7+ years
Salary Range: $65,000-$100,000
Suggested Credentials: VMware Certified Professional on Network Virtualization (VCP-NV)
7. IT Director, Vice President, CIO/CTO
Aligning IT with business value is challenging. IT teams and executive leadership often operate in separate silos, missing opportunities to reduce costs, maximize efficiency and achieve business goals.
The IT director bridges that gap.
Typically the most senior IT role in the company, IT directors, vice presidents or chief technology officers lead your IT strategy and report directly to the CEO.
The IT director ensures that IT and computer systems support your business goals. While their responsibilities vary depending on the organization, they typically delegate daily tasks to IT managers and focus on high-level IT strategy and growth.
In high-profile director and CIO positions, soft skills matter — sometimes even more than technical certifications. A Career Builder survey found that 71 percent of HR professionals and hiring managers valued emotional intelligence over IQs in employees. Leaders with high emotional intelligence tend to handle pressure better, make more thoughtful, thorough decisions and successfully lead large teams.
Tips for Hiring an IT Director
A successful IT leader should possess a mix of leadership, business and technical experience. Look for these skills when hiring an IT director, CIO or CTO:
- Strong IT leadership experience
- Problem-solving and analytical skills
- Agile project management experience
- At least five years in a management role
- Business intelligence and data analysis skills
Recommended Experience: 10+ years
Salary Range: $95,000-$175,000+
Suggested Credentials: Leadership and development courses
How to Hire the Right IT Roles
The right IT role has a significant impact on your organization. Depending on your organizational objectives, your business might also benefit from more strategic hires, including:
- Cyber security roles: Information security analyst, cyber security architect, cyber security engineer
See the best cybersecurity certifications for 2018.
- IoT roles: IoT developer, IoT architect, IoT product manager
- DevOps roles: DevOps manager, automation architect, security engineer, software developer
- Artificial intelligence roles: Machine learning engineer, data scientist, business intelligence developers
Now that you know what IT roles you need, here are a few hiring tips:
- Know your business goals. It sounds simple. But after reviewing hundreds of résumés, your original hiring objectives can get lost. Ask: Why are you hiring this position? Measure each candidate against these objectives and other cultural criteria. Your business goals should drive your IT strategy and the technical roles you hire.
- Evaluate experience and training. IT training and certifications show the candidate has a solid technical foundation and strong work ethic. It’s proof they have the skills to perform the job.
- Grow from within. Promoting employees is a win-win for them and your organization. It boosts retention, increases job satisfaction and saves on hiring costs. IT training courses are a great way to train employees for new roles.
Develop Your IT Team with New Horizons Training Courses
IT training helps you develop and hire the right IT roles for your organization. But the suggested training courses above are only a start. There are countless paths and training opportunities to develop the right IT roles.
Whether you’re looking to train new employees or implement a new training program, New Horizons training courses can help you hire the right IT personnel for your modern organization.
Give us a call today.